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Dell Computer Corporation

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Dell Computer Corporation

Dell Computer Corporation was recognized as the leader in personal computers during the 1990’s. However, economic instability and competitors gaining market share, heavily affected the company. In 2001, PC sales declined, layoffs were constant, and employees were disengaged. Thus, to revitalize the company a new philosophy statement called “The Soul Dell” was unveiled throughout the organization. However, the central problem for Dell was the methodology used to develop and communicate its core values to employees. As well as senior leaders’ inability to affect paradigms shift from the existing organizational culture and sustain an effective change management process.

Case Study Analysis

Background /Culture

Dell Computer Company is known for its meteoric rise to industry dominance based on founder Michael Dell’s ability to transition a part-time business of building and upgrading personal computers into a multi-billion dollar enterprise (O’Rourke, 2010). Dell’s business model was producing low cost, high quality PC’s that were built-to-order called “Dell Direct”. The strategy of shipping direct to customers eliminated the need for middlemen and gave Dell a competitive advantage (O’Rourke, 2010). Company growth surged in the 1990’s with over 38,000 employees and a global platform. Dell and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Rollins, created a fast-past, win-at-all-cost, highly competitive organizational culture whereby compensation and promotions were based on exceptional performance (O’Rourke, 2010). Finally, in 2000, Elizabeth Allen joined the company as vice president of corporate communications.

In 2001 the company experienced an economic downturn. PC profit margins declined and lay...

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..., they failed to properly diagnose the problem in order to identify all the possible interventions needed to implement and sustain the change and behavior they wanted. Thus, in order to bring about this change, Dell and Rollins need to model the vision similar to the methods used during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Also, they need to ensure management has bought into the vision and can clearly articulate it to their direct reports. Moreover, incorporating cultural initiatives in employees’ performance management goals without a clear understanding of how the change affects them is premature. Employees first need to understand how the change impacts them and be empowered to provide input on its content and implementation. Finally, cultural shifts take time. Therefore, senior leadership needs to stay commitment to the change until it is institutionalized.
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